Friday, May 22, 2009 | If you want a good tour guide for the Quail Botanical Gardens in Encinitas, call Nan Sterman. She’s a self-described garden journalist, gardening expert, coach, designer and consultant. She’s everywhere. She teaches a class at the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College called Bye Bye Grass, spends two days a week offering low-water landscaping tips on a phone hotline and writes about sustainable gardening.
We strolled through the gardens in her town and talked about removing grass, San Diego’s irrigation habit, what’s wrong with the airport’s birds of paradise and what it would take for ice plant to look delicious enough to eat.
Do you have a favorite plant?
Ha! Not a chance. One? Oh god, that’s like what kind of ice cream do you like the best. I couldn’t tell you. It changes. See that thing right there, that red tree? It’s called flame tree. When that blooms, I think it’s just the most awesome thing in the world. When it stops blooming and the leaves come out, it’s nice, but it’s not like: ‘Wow! Look at that!’ Something else will catch my attention. That’s what I think is so cool about gardening. Things change in a predictable cycle. So my seasons are the gardening season because I know when a certain weed shows up that we’re in spring. I’m a bona fide plant fanatic.